Protest Votes Embarrass Obama in Arkansas, Kentucky


Barack Obama's string of poor primary performances—poor, that is, for an incumbent not facing a serious challenger—continued in Arkansas and Kentucky last night. In Arkansas, protest candidate John Wolfe received 41.6% of the ballots and carried 36 of the state's 75 counties. In Kentucky, 42.1% of the voters (and an actual majority of the counties) backed Uncommitted, which is about as pure a vote for Not Obama as you can cast. (It is also the best showing I can recall Uncommitted receiving since the general election of 1960, when the wily devil carried a state.)

Welcome to Ron Paul Nation.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side:

in Kentucky, Obama actually compiled more votes than Republican winner—and general election challenger—Mitt Romney. Both contests are now symbolic, of course, but Republicans still have more of a reason to go out and vote in their primary. Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Republicans' version of "Uncommitted" combined for about 33 percent in Kentucky.

Ron Paul carried Trigg County, Kentucky, in what I'd like to believe was a late-breaking protest against the TVA's land-grabs and the crackdown on moonshine.

Update: I wouldn't read too much into the fact that more Kentucky voters backed Obama than Romney. The Democratic winner regularly outpolls the Republican winner in that state's presidential primaries. In 2000 Al Gore, running against no one but Bill Bradley and Lyndon LaRouche, got more votes than George W. Bush, who was in a situation similar to Romney's, and Bush still beat Gore easily in the general election. (In Kentucky, that is. Not everywhere.) Chris Mallory suggests that this reflects which downticket races will be contested in the fall: When there's more than one Democrat seeking an office and no one on the Republican side, Dems have more reason to turn out. Having lived from 2002 to 2006 in Baltimore City, where the Democratic primary is the local election, this sounds plausible to me.